MEDINAH, Ill. — Remember Brookline? The Europeans will use the United States’ finest Ryder Cup moment as inspiration for the singles session of this year’s competition.
The United States will begin the Ryder Cup’s final session with a 10-6 lead, the same advantage the Europeans held 13 years earlier when the Americans made their memorable comeback in Massachusetts. There’s one big difference: the United States was the home team in 1999. The Europeans will try to match history Sunday while playing on foreign soil.
The United States needs to earn 4 1/2 points in 12 matches to regain the Ryder Cup. The Europeans need eight points. As the defending champions, they would retain the Cup in the event of a tie.
The Europeans will begin the singles session with three of their strongest players – Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy. “We have to put the players who are playing well out there,” European captain Jose Maria Olazabal said. “If we want to win this match, we have to take their big guns down.”
The United States is starting with its three most recent major champions. Those strategies will make for some interesting early pairings. The first tee time is scheduled for 11:03 a.m. local time.
“We all know they’re gonna load the boat early,” said United States captain Davis Love III. “It’s your only option.”
Donald, an alum of nearby Northwestern, will face Masters champion Bubba Watson in the leadoff pairing. Poulter, fresh off his five consecutive birdies to finish Saturday’s play, will play Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open winner. Then there’s Keegan Bradley versus Rory McIlroy in the third match. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose are in the fourth match.
Brandt Snedeker, the FedEx Cup champion, will face Paul Lawrie, who was 0-2 this week. The next match will feature a face-off between long hitters Dustin Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts. They’ll be followed by former Masters champion Zach Johnson and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell. Jim Furyk-Sergio Garcia and Jason Dufner-Peter Hanson will play each other in the next two matches.
Matt Kuchar will take on Lee Westwood in the 10th match, followed by a match between two of this week’s struggling players, Steve Stricker and Martin Kaymer. Tiger Woods is in the final match against Francesco Molinari. The Ryder Cup will likely be decided before his match is complete.
• • •
11:03 a.m.: Bubba Watson vs. Luke Donald
• Donald: Like Garcia, Donald is 1-2 for the tournament, winning his first point with a dramatic victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
• Watson: He’s 2-1 with blowout victories on Friday and Saturday afternoons, both by a 5-and-4 margin with Webb Simpson.
• • •
11:14 a.m.: Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter
• Simpson: He’s 2-1, and led the way in the Saturday four-ball session with seven birdies thru 14 holes.
• Poulter: The star of the European team to this point, going 3-0, including a dramatic win on Saturday evening that featured five consecutive birdies.
• • •
11:25 a.m.: Keegan Bradley vs. Rory McIlroy
• Bradley: He’s 3-0, only sitting out the Friday afternoon session. Paired with Mickelson, Bradley has won matches 4 and 3, 2 and 1 and 7 and 6.
• McIlroy: Has played in all four sessions, going 2-2, winning his first and last matches of the two days.
• • •
11:36 a.m.: Phil Mickelson vs. Justin Rose
• Mickelson: He’s 3-0, winning all three with close friend Keegan Bradley. On Saturday morning, the duo cruised to a record-tying 7-and-6 victory over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
• Rose: Played in all four sessions, going 2-2; won twice with Ian Poulter on Friday and Saturday mornings, but lost twice in the afternoon.
• • •
11:47 a.m.: Brandt Snedeker vs. Paul Lawrie
• Snedeker: He’s 1-1 playing with Jim Furyk, participating in only the morning foursomes on both days.
• Lawrie: Played in two matches and lost them both; made his return to Ryder Cup after 13-year absence
• • •
11:58 a.m.: Dustin Johnson vs. Nicolas Colsaerts
• Johnson: He’s 2-0 after a dramatic birdie at the par-3 17th hole that helped the U.S. pull out a 1-up victory on Saturday afternoon.
• Colsaerts: A day after eight birdies and an eagle gave him a win in his Ryder Cup debut, Colsaerts lost two matches on Saturday.
• • •
12:09 p.m.: Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell
• McDowell: Played in the first three sessions, playing with Rory McIlroy in all three. He is 1-2, with his lone victory in the opening match on Friday.
• Johnson: He’s 2-1 and found a perfect pairing in Dufner. Johnson played in both Saturday sessions, contributing three birdies in the afternoon fourballs.
• • •
12:20 p.m.: Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia
• Garcia: Is 1-2 over the two days, picking up his first victory late Saturday evening with Luke Donald.
• Furyk: He’s 1-1 playing with Brandt Snedeker, getting revenge on Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell on Saturday morning with a 1-up victory. The Euros won on Friday by the same margin.
• • •
12:31 p.m.: Jason Dufner vs. Peter Hanson
• Dufner: The rookie is 2-1, losing his first match on Saturday afternoon when Ian Poulter ran off five consecutive birdies.
• Hanson: Paired with Peter Lawrie in Friday four-ball, where they were trounced; did not play on Saturday in either session.
• • •
12:42 p.m.: Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood
• Kuchar: He’s 2-0 paired with Dustin Johnson, contributing five birdies on Saturday afternoon in a 1-up win.
• Westwood: Played in the first three sessions, going 1-2, but only got that one win behind Colsaerts’ fantastic play on Friday afternoon.
• • •
12:53 p.m.: Steve Stricker vs. Martin Kaymer
• Kaymer: Lost in his only match of the Ryder Cup; did not play on Saturday in either session.
• Stricker: He’s 0-3 and has hit the water four times over the first two days. He looked frustrated on the greens for much of Saturday afternoon.
• • •
1:04 p.m.: Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari
• Woods: He’s 0-3 despite playing well on the back-nine the last two matches. He faced Colsaerts on Friday evening and lost despite seven birdies.
• Molinari: Played twice in the tournament, losing on Friday morning with Lee Westwood and on Saturday afternoon with Justin Rose.